Meditation Versus Materialism, a Path to Pure Bliss

“Just think of any negativity that comes at you as a raindrop falling into the ocean of your bliss.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

When everything about the morning is magical & meditative. Pure Bliss ensues…

The euphoria that comes from connected transcendental meditative moments versus disconnected materialism is palpable.

I recently posted on my Twitter account, “the most important things in life…aren’t things. Some people work for money & material goods, while others work for the reward of the relationship and good of human kind. I know where I stand.” Meaning, I follow my bliss… My bliss is in the care and compassion of other’s and their wellbeing, not simply making the almighty dollar.

This has been a long standing philosophy of mine, yet my more recent comment stemmed from a recent quote from the Dalia Lama, “For many people, the only tangible value is money. And of course money has its place, but the value of cultivating a compassionate attitude is much more effective. When we only pay attention to material values, there’s little room for concern for others, or for mutual regard.”

I have known my mind and where I stand for many decades…so much so, I don’t generally feel the need to talk about it. Although those closest to me know. Yet it brings me to question, “do others know where they stand?” Are you following your bliss? If you don’t or aren’t – maybe it is time to begin considering…

Is your life

  • chaotic
  • frenzied
  • medicated in some form or fashion
  • busy yet never seemingly full
  • disconnected despite all efforts to be connected
  • do you have an overabundance of “stuff” yet still feel empty
  • is the feeling of balance often illusive
  • is there a void that leaves you searching

As one dear friend observed, “You may be practicing materialism and don’t realize that’s what’s making you unhappy.”

Whether you’re searching for a greater meaning, seeking relief from anxiety, or hoping to slow down rapid thoughts, meditation over materialism may help. I prefer Transcendental Meditation or “TM” as it is popularly known but that is just me. It is what I studied as a young girl and I what I have turned to off and on over the decades. Some prefer guided meditations or mindful meditations. To each their own really.

Although it has become clear to me that those who practice mindfulness meditation are not always sure about the differences between transcendental and mindfulness meditation, and there are differences. When I have used the terms follow or find your bliss, it has been a tad confusing to some.

So to that end I have included an excerpt from an excellent article written by Jim Karpen about the differences between Transcendental Meditation and Mindfulness Meditation,

“These two approaches to meditation come from different traditions, are practiced in a different manner, have different effects on the brain, and are different in the way they’re learned.

Transcendental Meditation comes from the Vedic tradition and was introduced by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Mindfulness comes from the Buddhist tradition, and was popularized in the West by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Transcendental Meditation is described as a simple, natural, effortless meditation technique that doesn’t involve contemplation or concentration. One uses a mantra as a vehicle to let the mind settle down naturally and, ultimately, to transcend thought.

Mindfulness meditation involves training one’s mind to be in the present moment. It typically involves passive attention to one’s breathing, sensations, and thoughts during meditation, sometimes referred to generically as open monitoring.

In this regard, the main difference between the two is that the goal of mindfulness meditation is to have one’s thoughts be on the present moment, whereas with Transcendental Meditation, the goal is to transcend thought itself and experience a state of “pure awareness,” in which one is aware but without an object of thought.”

The article goes on to further explain,

“These differing approaches to meditation, and differing subjective experiences during meditation, are clearly reflected in the contrasting neurophysiological states associated with each practice. Transcendental Meditation has been found to activate the brain’s default mode network, which is a natural resting state of the brain. Mindfulness meditation deactivates the default mode network.

In addition, the EEG signatures or brain wave patterns associated with each practice are also different. Transcendental Meditation is typified by alpha brain waves, and mindfulness meditation by theta brain waves. Alpha is associated with relaxation while theta is associated with a readiness to process incoming signals.

Finally, the two approaches to meditation are learned in different ways. TM can only be learned from a certified teacher, who has been extensively trained and who teaches the technique in a very precise way. The teaching and the practice of the technique are standardized. With mindfulness, one can learn the technique in a variety of ways, and there are somewhat varied interpretations regarding how it should be practiced. A good way to learn is by taking the 8-week course on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction developed by Kabat-Zinn. But one can also learn mindfulness from various websites or books or magazine articles.

The ultimate goals of each technique also differ. With TM, long-term practice can result in a state of cosmic consciousness, in which the experience of transcendence is always present in one’s awareness, even during activity. One comes to experience one’s self as universal and omnipresent. One’s identity shifts from the individual to the cosmic. With mindfulness, the ultimate goal is to always be in the present moment, with greater clarity and focus.”

The point being though, that whichever practice you choose when connecting through meditation, awareness can be achieved and this can bring you to your place of bliss and letting go, transcending becomes attainable.

So when I consider my transcendental meditation practice…in conjunction with the personal philosophy that materialistic living simply creates chaos, I transcend. I am closer to following MY state of bliss and my consciousness becomes forever more aware of my subconscious patterns. I have become more adept at letting go, nor allowing materialism to rule my life and only allowing items that I truly find value in or love, to be a part of my world.

“You should always be aware that your head creates your world.” – Ken Keyes, Jr.

The practice I use gets its name from the idea of “transcendence,” a unique, blissful feeling of simultaneous detachment and awareness that arises when the mind is quiet. But these moments are not required of a “TM” meditation, and in between those moments the passing of ideas that normally feel jumpy and disjointed can start to feel less chaotic. There evolves a flow…a flow that transcends beyond that meditative state. It is also that which is what allows the mind to seemingly magically stumble upon answers to questions it may have been trying to solve. Bliss is further evidenced through this enlightenment, of balance, harmony…and the general ability to let go.

I wrote and finished this particular blog a few weeks ago but simply hadn’t published it yet. There was no reason. However, this lesson came to me more vividly then I could have anticipated when my car was vandalized, a window smashed, my purse and some very precious belongings that were in my purse, all stolen. Despite my best efforts, identity theft occurred to the tune of $3000, not to mention all the ensuing chaos. Yet it was all for MONEY…someone’s material desires. So what started as my typical wonderful week, nearly dissolved into a frantic, chaotic state just to process handling these affairs in a race against time because there were humans in the world attempting to do wrong, both with my belongings and in my name. Again, someone’s pursuit of a materialist nature, had lead them to transcend to a chaotic, harmful level and this negative energy was rolling my way! Yet, had it not been for my determination to stay my course, not allow myself to become ensnared in the net of what seemed a horrible domino effect, and to remain in my place of bliss…it surely would have had a much worse effect on my emotional state. Sure I vented to friends and family but I meditated (and prayed) way more and stayed as close to my place of calm as possible through out the entire ordeal.

When we truly dissect it, the atrocities that are often waged by humankind in the name of materialism, generally has a blind disregard to enlightenment, as this is not the path to compassion. This person wasn’t compassionate to my or my family’s needs. However, compassion is love, and LOVE is understanding that WE ARE ALL ONE. THIS understanding can only first come from learning to respect ourselves and then each other…to be spiritual, not necessarily religious without need for materialism. To follow our bliss and this path leading to ONE SOURCE and Bob Marley said it best, “one Love…one Heart…”

So I embrace my glorious mornings, thankful for the balance & simplicity of my life as I enjoy the connectedness and compassion through my transcendent meditations and moments, even if I am unable to sustain 20 minutes twice a day, whatever I can commit to in that moment is mine to connect with…and I continue to follow my bliss.

This bring to mind an old favorite of mine, “Judge each day not by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson. Meaning, I am not worrying about what I do or don’t have nor I am judging where I am versus another yet I am focusing on planting my garden of love and relating with compassion. It is simple yet it is simply by design.

Simply balanced, simply beautiful, simply peaceful, simply serene, simply compassionate, simply  harmonious with my emotional needs, simply a life that brings me a daily reminder that there is magic in the coming day and to welcome fresh beginnings in even the most simple of meditative moments! You can achieve these thoughts through your own meditation practice (be it mindfulness or transcendental) as you let go of the materialism that binds you.

Know your heart – follow it to your ocean of bliss, even if it doesn’t take you very far.

As always,

Go in love,

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